Newsroom

Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott
Governor

David E. Wilkins
Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT:
Erin Gillespie, Press Secretary,
DCF Communications, (850) 717-4450

DCF SECRETARY WILKINS TO JOIN "WALK IN MY SHOES" TO BRING
AWARENESS TO SEXUAL ABUSE

~ Encourages other Floridians to join Lauren Book on her third annual walk across Florida ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins and Mrs. Tanya Wilkins plan to join Lauren Book, founder of Lauren's Kids, on her walk to help bring awareness to child sexual abuse.

The third annual Walk in My Shoes kicked off January 14. Book, a sexual abuse survivor, is walking across Florida until February 22 to advocate for abuse prevention and help survivors know it's OK to talk about abuse.

"This is a national teaching moment," Book said. "The Penn State and Syracuse scandals focused public attention on this neglected issue and gave us an opportunity to end the scourge of childhood sexual abuse."

The 39-day, 1,500 mile journey started in Key West and will end on the steps of the Capitol in Tallahassee for Lauren's Kids "Rally in Tally." Along the way, Lauren will visit with local rape crisis centers, schools, college campuses and sexual assault program centers across Florida. Secretary and Mrs. Wilkins plan to walk alongside Book in Jacksonville on Feb. 10.

"At the Department of Children and Families, we know there are many children across Florida who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse," said Secretary Wilkins. "I am proud to walk next to Lauren Book, a brave young woman who has given so much of her life to bring awareness to this horrific act."

Book became an advocate for sexual abuse survivors after being victimized by her nanny for six years. Her organization educates adults and children about sexual abuse through school curriculum, a crisis hotline and speaking engagements across the country.

The organization's goal is to prevent sexual abuse through awareness and education and to help survivors heal. Book's "Safer, Smarter Kids" curriculum, which teaches about unsafe touching and secrets, good and bad, is to be given to all of Florida's kindergartners this week.

For more information, please visit www.laurenskids.org .

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